Ministers have appointed whistleblowing champions across the NHS in a bid to create a more ‘honest and open’ NHS work environment as recent reports and surveys tell of a lack of trust and respect that is impacting patient care.
A total of 19 whistleblowing champions have been appointed to health boards to help staff report concerns related to their working environment.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman has said she is confident the appointments will help create a more honest and open workplace environment for all.
All of those appointed take up their posts from this week and a further appointment round is to take place soon to bring in representatives to the three health boards that remain without a champion.
The drive to appoint the new officers is part of the Scottish government’s broader reaction to instances of bullying and mistrust in the NHS, including those raised by the Sturrock review that published its findings in May 2019.
John Sturrock QC was asked to investigate allegations of widespread bullying in NHS Highland that had led to some members of staff leaving their posts and in some cases, unable to work again.
In November last year it was revealed that independent researchers were being brought in to investigate claims of bullying in Argyll & Bute NHS services.
Earlier this week, only 38% of respondents to a staff survey that includes NHS workers said they had confidence and trust in senior managers.
Meanwhile, a recent report on mental health services in Tayside also compounded a narrative that few areas of the NHS in Scotland have not been impacted by issues around a lack of trust and unhealthy working environments.
Commenting on the champions’ appointments, Ms Freeman said: “I believe passionately in the NHS Scotland values of care and compassion, dignity and respect, openness, honesty, responsibility, quality and teamwork – and the level of interest in these posts demonstrates the level of enthusiasm for those values.
“The NHS in Scotland does a fantastic job of looking after patients but it is just as important that NHS staff experience the care and respect they show to others. I am confident that these appointments will help create a better working environment for all.”